By Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF) Aaron Abreu
I’m Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (Fleet Marine Force Specialist) Aaron Christian Abreu. I’m a Basic Medical Technician and Corpsman Program instructor at Navy Medicine Training Support Center aboard Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
I was originally born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. At the age 10, my family moved to the Philippines where I graduated high school. We then moved to Los Angeles in 2008. This is where my interest in the medical field and joining the United States Navy all began.
My mother has been a nurse for the past 15 years, and I have always admired her work ethic and how she cares for her patients. I told myself that one day, I too will serve the sick and injured. After six months of being in America, I met my recruiter.
After being enlightened to the vast spectrum of medical occupations available to me I was signing paperwork to enlist as a hospital corpsman and shipped out soon after. I anxiously anticipated what lay ahead of me. I was thinking of the hospitals, clinics and patients I would eventually experience. Armed with nothing but what my recruiter told me about the hospital corps, I soon find out that being a corpsman extends outside the walls of a military treatment facility.
After graduating recruit training in October 2008, I proceeded across the street to complete “A” school at Naval Hospital Corps School. I graduated number one in my class, which allowed me to select my first duty station – Naval Medical Center San Diego in California. For two years, 2009-2011, I learned a lot as a junior corpsman.
I was fortunate to experience patient care in various areas of the hospital. I was also selected to become the basic life support program administrator for Navy Medicine West. It was a daunting task to fill at the time, but with the encouragement of my peers and mentors I rose to the challenge. I left the hospital with a stronger knowledge base and wide array of special medical skill sets.
My journeys then lead me to Field Medical Training Battalion aboard Camp Pendleton, California, to familiarize myself with the Fleet Marine Force and then serve at 1st Medical Battalion at Camp Pendleton. This part of my career is where my leadership skills were honed. Throughout my naval career I had mentors who supported and guided me to be successful, but this exciting three-year tour allowed me to hold several leadership positions outside the scope of being a hospital corpsman, such as being assistant leading petty officer of the manpower and personnel department, where we provided mission critical billeting and manning support for global/domestic deployments and special assignments. I did this for about a year and half before being transferred within the battalion to the alpha surgical company while there I held the position of platoon sergeant.
The best thing about alpha surgical company was the crew I served with. This group of Sailors and Marines were the most motivated and dedicated team in regards to combat medicine. Training with this crew and deploying with them to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom was one of the most exciting and rewarding assignments I have had thus far. The combat zone tested my limits and basic knowledge as a corpsman. Out there (Afghanistan), my fellow corpsmen and I filled-in and cross trained for each other’s job – from the most basic inventory of medical equipment, to setting up shock trauma platoon tents, to providing sick call.
After three years with 1st Medical Battalion, it was time for me to transfer to another duty station, which is where I am now – Navy Medicine Training Support Center. I picked this duty station and am thrilled to be an instructor. It is filled with dedicated and outstanding instructors. In the short amount of time I have been here, I can honestly say that my job here is rewarding. We teach Sailors and Airmen from basic training so they can specialize as hospital corpsmen and basic medical technicians. It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of these young Sailors’ and Airmen’s entry-level training.
I work at what is considered the quarterdeck of Navy Medicine, a place where we send forth outstanding skilled hospital corpsmen to support global readiness., a place where we send forth outstanding skilled hospital corpsmen to support global readiness.
To sum up my experiences in Navy Medicine in one sentence- Ever changing, ever ready!
I’m Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Aaron Abreu. I am Navy Medicine.